Epidemiology of extraspinal fractures associated with acute spinal cord injury

Academic Article


  • Study design: A descriptive study of concurrent extraspinal fractures collected prospectively during initial hospital care. Objectives: To examine the frequency and related characteristics of concurrent extraspinal fractures among patients with a new onset of spinal cord injury (SCI). Setting: Model SCI care systems throughout the United States. Methods: A consecutive sample of 5711 subjects admitted to the National SCI Database between 1986-1995 was recruited to estimate the incidence of extraspinal fractures associated with acute SCI, stratified by anatomic sites, demographics, and injury related characteristics. Results: Of 5711 subjects, 1585 (28%) patients had extraspinal fractures; 580 (37%) patients had more than one fracture site. The most common region of fractures was chest, followed by lower extremity, upper extremity, head, others, and pelvis. The overall incidence rate was higher for women than men, for whites than non-whites, for paraplegics than tetraplegics, and for those injured in motor vehicle crashes than others. Compared with patients having single fracture, those who had multiple fractures were likely to be white, paraplegic, and injured in motor vehicle crashes. There was no age difference in the incidence of concurrent fractures, single or multiple. Conclusions: Extraspinal fractures are not uncommon at the same time as SCI. The fracture occurrence varies by gender, race, injury level, and etiology of injury. The knowledge of these associated factors will aid in early recognition of fractures, preventing complications, and facilitating rapid mobilization and rehabilitation outcomes among persons with SCI.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Spinal Cord  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wang CM; Chen Y; Devivo MJ; Huang CT
  • Start Page

  • 589
  • End Page

  • 594
  • Volume

  • 39
  • Issue

  • 11